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Undocumented Texas A&M Grad Student Running for Student Body President

It's election day for Texas A&M students, and one of the candidates wants to be student body president after coming to this country illegally.

News 3 spoke with Jose Luis Zelaya about why he's the first undocumented student to ever run for Texas A&M's student body president.

Jose Luis Zelaya has came a long way in his lifetime.

"11 years ago my home used to be a bridge. My blanket used to be newspapers. 11 years later I'm a graduate student at one of the best universities in the world," said Jose Luis Zelaya.

He came to Texas illegally in 7th grade from Honduras and graduated high school in the Houston area and then Texas A&M.

Now the first year graduate student is running for student body president.

"I think they know who I am and that I'm not running to hurt anybody... I rely on Christ for every action that I take," he said.

Most of the students we spoke with had no idea about Jose Zelaya's background and his opponents haven't made his immigration status an issue either.

Texas A&M Junior Drew Barber is one of five other candidates also running for the position.

"I respect Jose Luis more than anybody would ever know. Incredible man, incredible story and I wish I could speak like he does he speaks with a passion," said Barber.

Freshman Gabriel Martinez said he's considering voting for him.

"After you told me he's undocumented it's actually quite interesting to me. I would like to look into it more and I would like to look at his campaigning," said Martinez.

"We're all Aggies and it doesn't really matter where you come from as long as you're here," said Megan Gilbert, a Texas A&M junior.

Others like student Kyle Adams say they can't vote for Zelaya.

"I think it's good that he's achieved so much without being without necessarily going through the right channels but I also think he's not setting a very good example for others that might be trying to do the same thing," said Adams.

"I'm running because deep inside my heart I bleed maroon," said Zelaya.

In the meantime Zelaya hopes to become a U.S. citizen one day but says there's no way to apply for citizenship without leaving the country first.

He plans to stay here.

Student election results will be announced at 7:30 Tuesday night in front of the Academic Building.

Other students running for student body president include Drew Barber, John Claybrook, Sam Hodges, Thomas McNutt and Brody Smith.

There are currently around 200 undocumented students at Texas A&M.


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